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As Long as We Remember...

February 27, 2014

Ninth Grade History Lesson

Chris Cavey

About five weeks ago I again went through a metamorphosis from insurance professional to my alternative occupation – political hack. Yep, I am on the road again watching the sunrise in my windshield and returning home after everyone else is fast asleep.


I’m working hard for my candidate. Just like previous election cycles; however, I am constantly amazed at the lack of knowledge within the general population.


Didn't anyone other than me pass ninth grade history?


Currently we have a few gubernatorial candidates purporting that they will cut or even eliminate taxes. Claims abound in the GOP primary that the "rain tax" and other such codification will be eliminated on their first day in office. Such ideas are lofty goals, which I would love to see. The problem is no governor can do such things. It is the legislative branch that makes these laws – the governor can only veto bad legislation prior to codification and hope those vetoes are not over-ridden by the legislature.


One evening a man explained to me, in detail, how he "knew" a certain candidate would change the Maryland Constitution. This super candidate – as governor – would cancel taxes and bring Maryland back to her former glory. I asked how. He said it was in the governor's power as chief executive! He informed me the governor controlled the legislature – they would do as instructed!


Guess he forgot about the four years of frustration for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., and the Republican Party, or the current woes of GOP members of the Maryland General Assembly.


It is the job of the governor to enforce the law created by the legislature and the job of the judiciary to adjudicate such law. It just happens in Maryland that one party controls two branches of government and appoints the third. Maybe that's why our children can't distinguish the roles of government – the lines are blurred into a giant unicameral one party dominated system – a system which looks as if the governor controls everything.


Hey! Maybe that's why we have economic problems, tax problems and general government incompetence, all of which are overlooked by the media. (But that is for another column.) Maybe that's why even well-meaning Republicans believe a minority party governor will affect a "first week" constitutional change. They delusionally believe the legislature would be in such a governor's pocket.


Those folks need to return to Mother Earth.


A governor can make big changes, if they wish. The executive branch directs and regulates all the departments. Government efficiency is within the governor's grasp, which means government spending is also. Just think if a new governor, with some business acumen, appointed and directed cabinet secretaries to make each division/department 20% more efficient? What if this was accomplished without a single state employee losing their job? What affect would that have on our economy?


What if a new governor demanded of his appointees that the cost of higher education be frozen – or that our universities become 20% more efficient, lowering the tuition to in-state students and then demanding those universities accept all in-state applicants who qualified – before courting out-of-state students? Would we have less students fleeing Maryland because then they could be educated at home? Would those same students stick around and create businesses and jobs. What long term affect would that be on our economy?


A governor can surely make many big changes, changes which affect many lives and drive our economy. Bad governors cause bloated budgets, which lead to tax increases. Inefficient and unaware governors spend lots of money on pet projects and cost us money in the form of taxes and – sad to say – same party rule gives the rubber stamp of approval to those costly mistakes.


Perhaps the key to good government is ninth grade history.


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